FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The NCAA Division I West Region Preliminary is the penultimate step before the Big Dance. In 2014, Montana State Track and Field is sending ten talented student-athletes in pursue of their collegiate athletics dream of making it to Nationals. Beginning Thursday, May 29 until Saturday, June 1, the Bobcats will put it all on the line in pursuit of their dreams to continue when they compete in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
After sending eight student-athletes in 2013, two went on to compete at the NCAA Championships and head coach Dale Kennedy hopes there will be a few more advancing out of Fayetteville. Jeff Mohl and Carley McCutchen have already punched their tickets to Eugene, Oregon. Mohl, who won the Big Sky title in the decathlon, is ranked 23rd in the nation in the grueling event and will make his second outdoor NCAA appeance to cap off a huge track and field career with Montana State. McCutchen grabbed the 24th and final spot in the heptathlon making her first appearance at the NCAAs. McCutchen finished a career-high second place at the Big Sky meet.
Five Bobcats are making their first appearance at the regional meet, all of which have been major players at the Conference level. Tanner Gambill willl compete in the javelin, following a second place finish in the event at the Big Sky Championships. The sophomore from Forsyth, Montana is ranked 39th with a lifetime best throw of 207-10 (63.64m), recorded back on April 5 at the MSU Open. Also making their debut in the field events is women’s pole vaulter Casey Teska. In just her second season, she notched two silver medals at the indoor and outdoor league championships, picking up lifetime bests both seasons. Her height of 13-01.75 (4.01m) puts her in 28th in the field of 48.
Three new faces will grace the competition in the running events. Chantel Jaeger, who has finished lower than third place only three times this spring, is ready for her premier at the West meet. After earning her first individual Big Sky title in the 200 and picking up four All-Conference nods along the way, she’ll give is a go at the national level in her signature event. Her PR time of 23.61 puts her in the 23rd spot in the field of sprinters. Jeanette Northey joins her teammate in Fayetteville, but at the opposite end of the running spectrum in the 3,000 steeplechase. She was the Big Sky runner-up in the steeplechase and holds a lifetime best time of 10:33.10 and secured the final spot in Friday’s race.
Cristian Soratos is the lone Bobcat male new to the track but his experience in the 1,500 shouldn’t be much of an issue. Like Jaeger, he won his first title in an individual event, taking first place in the 1,500 just a few weeks back. His lifetime best time of 3:45.04 ranks him 33rd.
The remaining five have been there before and they’re ready to do it again. Trevor Gilreath will compete as his impressive fourth NCAA West Regional, with one final shot at making the NCAA Finals. His highest finish came last year, placing 23rd overall. He enters the meet in 47th with a season-best throw of 56-05.75 (17.21m). Also in the throws, Sean Ferriter, a Butte Central graduate, will be making his second appearance at the regional meet. Last year, he finished 40th in the hammer throw. On Friday, he’ll begin his quest ranked 25th with a throw of 201-03 (61.34m).
Heather Demorest will join Northey in the steeplechase, for her second straight outdoor appearance. After setting the program record twice in 2014, her lifetime best time of 10:75 puts her in 15th in the west. In 2013, she came in 25th overall.
Last but certainly not least are Grant Grosvenor and Matt Tex in the 800. Both had a strong run in 2013 and will look for top performances at least once more this season. Tex advanced to the quarterfinals, placing 20th overall in 1:49.94, just .50 off his PR, following his win in the 800 at the Big Sky Championships. Grovenor, too, made it to the quarters for a ninth place finish overall, and took it one step further earning a spot at the NCAA Championships, before placing 12th in the nation, earning All-America honors. Most recently, he came in second in the 1,500 and fourth in the 800 at Big Sky. This also marks Grosvenor’s third appearance at the NCAA West Region Preliminary.
“We already have two for NCAA’s and naturally, we’d like to get as many as we can there,” said head coach Dale Kennedy. With this group, we have some experience at this level and we all have high expectations and what they’re capable of doing. It’s always an honor to make it to this meet but we’d like to take it one step further and do our absolutely best.”
— MSU Sports Information